Justin B asked in Politics & GovernmentPolitics · 2 months ago

Moderate republicans, what's happened to the gop?  Is this really who you are now?  Are you going to stand with these people going forward?

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  • Anonymous
    2 months ago
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    I could write a whole book on all the stuff that the GOP did to get there.  I think that they made a series of decisions based on short term and medium term gain which got them to this place.  I mean, we can go all the way back to the early 90s when Newt Gingrich pioneered a new mode of campaigning where Republicans portrayed their opponents not as people who wanted what was best for American but had bad ideas, but as people who were evil and actually trying to destroy America.  This helped Republicans win back the House in 1994, but it also helped poison the well. 

    I think there's two structural things which have helped drive this craziness.  One is gerrymandering.  A lot of Republicans are from districts which are gerrymandered such that they don't really have a risk of losing a general election.  So their only danger, politically, is losing a primary.  This creates a race to the right where Republican Congressmen at least have little incentive to appeal to the center and instead have to constantly move to the right to avoid being outflanked.  The other, even more important, feature is the development of right wing media, and particularly Fox News, in the 1990s.  There were always ideological outlets but they mostly served as a commentary system.  They'd take the news of the day, which people got largely from officially non partisan news organizations, and explain what this meant in terms of liberal or conservative views.  But with Fox we got something new: a major news organization who didn't even have an pretense of being objective.  Their mission statement, from their creation, was to skew the news in ways which supported conservative causes and candidates.  What this did was create a sort of tribalized feedback loop where what mattered in the media that right wing voters consumed was partisan loyalty and right wing credentials.  The media fanned this because, as media organizations, their incentive was to get viewers, and the way you do this is by emphasizing conflict.  This created an us vs them situation where loyalty to the tribe was prized above anything else.  After imbibing this media for so long, many people aren't able to see their fellow Americans as anything but enemies.  And they're unable to see an election loss as anything but a calamity.  In the Trump era, these features also made it very difficult for conservatives to stand up to Trump.  If the media which you listen to prizes tribal loyalty above all else, and if the main political danger you face in an election is a primary challenge, then it's difficult for you to get out there and criticize a President of your party who is going off the rails.  We saw this happen time and again.  There was a fair amount of criticism of Trump when he was running in the primary, but then when he got the nomination most Republicans jumped on board.  When he actually won the election virtually every Republican who had still criticized him fell in line.  Ted Cruz, who made waves at the Republican convention when he didn't actually endorse Trump but urged people to "vote your conscience" became a big time Trump supporter.  Those Republicans who weren't willing to kowtow to Trump basically had to resign.  Paul Ryan ended his career in 2016.  Jeff Flake did two years later.  The sole exceptions were John McCain and Mitt Romney, both of whom were safe because of their enormous personal popularity in their home states and the fact that they were older and didn't have much career left to safeguard. 

    That's how we got to this time, a conservative culture which encouraged radicalism and discouraged responsibility and critiques of conservative behavior. 

  • 2 months ago

    I'm sure they'll eventually kiss and make up but there's a pretty big split between the Republicans that want to install Trump as permanent God-king and the rest.

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